Swimming is an excellent total body workout done by people of all ages and fitness levels.
It is gentle on your joints and muscles while also being highly effective at improving your cardiovascular health.
Compared to other workouts, swimming is also pretty fun and enjoyable!
But does swimming actually work for getting in shape? What results can you see from swimming for 30 days and beyond?
In just 1 month of swimming workouts, you could lose a couple of pounds due to the high-calorie burn (provided you eat a clean and nutritious diet) and rapidly improve your swim times and overall conditioning. Swimming also a great low-impact option for rehabbing injuries and developing better agility and body control.
Let’s see what personal trainers and other fitness experts have to say about results from swimming.
Swimming is one of the greatest forms of exercise if you are looking to burn massive amounts of calories.
Because the water is 800x denser than air, your body must work harder to propel itself through the water.
During swimming, you will be engaging all your body’s muscles, from your shoulders to your legs.
Swimming can also be done at your own unique pace, allowing anyone to complete a swimming workout.
While swimming, the workouts don’t have to be the standard length of other forms of exercise like jogging or cycling.
When I asked Alan Morton of TrainFitness why swimming was effective for weight loss, he said:
“Swimming takes a lot of energy as many muscles are having to work hard, which will elevate the heart rate.
“Elevating the heart rate for at least 15 to 20 mins is going to bring a host of cardiovascular benefits to the participant including reducing the risk of many morbidities such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes.”
The benefits of swimming reach far greater than fat loss or improving the way you look.
Intense exercise like swimming workouts will translate into all areas of your life and help prevent various chronic diseases.
If your goal is weight loss, the other aspect you need to focus on will be your diet plan.
Because swimming can be such an intense exercise, it is easy to increase your appetite significantly after a workout.
Your body will crave high-calorie foods after intense workouts, so you must find healthy alternatives that align with your fitness goals.
Some great choices for meals after you have had an intense swimming workout are:
- Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
- Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt
- Salmon and Sweet Potato
- Protein Shake with Banana
If you stick to a consistent routine of swimming and eating a balanced diet, you will start to notice weight loss changes within 30 days or one month.
In most cases, you can expect to safely lose 1-2lbs weekly of fat if your body is operating below your maintenance calorie level.
Your body will burn more calories throughout the day after a swimming workout, giving you a higher chance of reaching your goals.
If your nutrition and workout plan is consistent, it’s only a matter of time before you hit your big weight loss milestone.
Conditioning and Endurance
The benefits of weight loss and improved cardiovascular health typically go side-by-side with one another.
During a swimming workout, you can elevate your heart rate for extended periods of time, dramatically challenging your conditioning and endurance.
By improving your cardiovascular endurance, you will likely have better circulation and lower blood pressure.
In a 2012 study, it was shown that 43 of the participants had lower blood pressure after swimming a few times per week.
As you continue to strengthen your heart muscle, you will notice that your swim times get faster, and you are not tired as early.
Unlike running, a swimming workout is also low-impact and gentle on your joints.
Water will support your body throughout the workout, leading to less overall stress on your body.
This lower impact exercise makes swimming an excellent option for older people and people who want to live a healthy lifestyle long-term.
To illustrate what someone could expect from a full 30-days of swimming workouts, I spoke with triathlete Forrest McCall.
After asking what a beginner could expect after swimming for an entire month, he said:
“After a full month of following a swimming routine, you’ll notice your fitness levels drastically improve, and the duration of your swims should increase.”
Along with improving your heart muscles, your lung capacity will also improve in only a short period of time.
With limiting access to air during the exercise, your body needs to work harder to preserve the air in your lungs.
However, if you are doing the swim form correctly, you should not be struggling hard to breathe during the workout.
The form is more important than your swim time, so be sure to focus on swim form if you are a beginner.
(Learn more about the pros and cons of swimming workouts here.)
Flexibility and Agility
Swimming will require your body to go through a range of motion that will lengthen the muscles consistently.
This functional stretching is therapeutic and can be great relief for those with sore muscles.
If you are looking to improve your athleticism, swimming can be a great way to achieve better body control.
In fact, if you got injured during another type of workout, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for rehabbing or, at least, not reaggravating past injuries.
When talking about the various benefits of swimming workouts, Alan Morton mentioned the safety of swimming by stating:
“Swimming is an excellent way to maintain joint health and improve the strength of connective tissue throughout the body, allowing for a greater functionality and strength to the participant.”
If you want to improve your flexibility quickly, doing static stretching after a workout can help.
When you swim, your muscles will be limber and warmed up, which will make it easier to stretch deeper.
Agility is an important factor for swimmers of any level. From beginners to Olympic-level athletes, controlling your body in the water will be the basis of swimming.
You need to stay balanced and controlled in the water to achieve the fastest time possible. Staying balanced in the water is one of the most essential skills that any swimmer learns and develops over time.
Strength and Muscle
Unlike weight lifting, swimming workouts will develop more functional strength patterns that translate into all areas of life.
Your body uses most of your major muscle groups during a swimming workout, with some of the most significant being:
- Abdominals and Lower Back Muscles
- Shoulder and Upper Back Muscles
- Hamstrings and Quadriceps Muscles
- Hand and Forearm Muscles
If you are looking for a total body workout, swimming is an excellent choice.
You will develop lean muscle throughout your entire body, with limited impact on your joints and tendons like weight lifting.
For beginners, swimming allows you to learn the form without the fear of injury like some other styles of exercise will have.
Alan Morton mentioned the strength-building benefits for beginners, stating:
“Swimming works many major muscle groups and takes lots of joints through a wide range of motion and does so in a supported environment.
“This means no high impact exercises –no high weight stress on the connective tissue from heavy weights (both are high risk to beginners for causing injury).”
Experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise for people with disabilities or injuries. Because of the limited resistance, those with arthritis and other ailments can find relief during their workouts.
As a swimmer, you can also target muscles more directly depending on the swimming stroke that you use.
The Butterfly Stroke, for example, will require you to generate a lot of power from your shoulder and trapezius muscles.
For the most versatile swimming stroke, the Front Crawl will use all of the major muscle groups in the body.
To switch things up, you can change your swimming strokes in each of your workouts to keep it interesting.
Will swimming build massive biceps and pecs like you might get from lifting weights? Not likely!
But if you’re after a lean, toned physique with lots of functional strength, swimming is an excellent choice.
Mood and Energy Levels
Exercise in all forms improves your mood and decreases negative feelings throughout the day.
Swimming is no exception, and it will help to improve your overall mood in your daily life almost instantly, and certainly within the first month.
During your workout, you can quickly clear your mind and only focus on your swim form.
These workouts produce a meditative state, allowing you to be present at the moment and forget your responsibilities.
After an intense swimming workout, you will have increased production of endorphins that will create positive feelings.
These feel-good chemicals can also help to reduce your stress levels and anxiety.
While it may be a more indirect benefit, improving your sleep after aerobic exercise can also help your mood.
Studies link aerobic exercise like swimming with helping those who have insomnia.
If you like to workout in a group setting, you may think there are no options for a form of exercise like swimming.
However, joining your local swim club can be a fantastic option once you get the hang of swimming!
You can bring some competitiveness into your swimming workouts and have friendly competitions for those of similar skill levels.
You will meet many great people, and it’s a great way to get in shape.
Inactivity is often linked to lower energy levels and feelings of lethargy.
One of the best ways to boost your energy is by boosting your metabolism. If you are looking for improved energy, swimming only three times a week can help you achieve that.
No matter your age or fitness level, swimming can make for an excellent total body workout.
It targets all muscle groups, improves your cardiovascular endurance, and improves your mood.
In only 30 days, you can start to see these improvements in action.
As a beginner, you only need to swim two or three times per week. There is no fancy equipment required, just you and a pool.
So, if you are looking for the perfect form of exercise, take a deep breath and give swimming a try.
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Hope this helps!